One Week In Colombia (2020): 4 Inspiring Examples For Your Itinerary

One Week In Colombia (2020): 4 Inspiring Examples For Your Itinerary

One week in Colombia is a short amount of time, but you can spend unforgettable moments if you build a practical Colombia itinerary.

Be ready. It will be a real brainteaser to choose among all the Colombian destinations.

To make your life easier, you have to give up the idea of visiting-a-maximum-of-Places within 7 days in Colombia. You don’t want to spend half your holiday with your butt stuck on an uncomfortable aircraft or bus seat.

I know. Most of you are scared of being bored. You want your days filled with activities and fantastic experiences. I’m like you!

Fortunately, thanks to our 4 examples of itineraries for Colombia, you’re going to realize that you can spend 7 days in the same area!

It’s been 4 years that we’re exploring Colombia. We had time to look for cool things to do :).

Table of contents: One Week in Colombia

  1. 7 days in Cartagena and around
  2. 7 days in Medellin and around
  3. 7 days in Cali and around
  4. 7 days in Bogota and around

1# One Week in Colombia: Cartagena

Cartagena is on the Eastern Caribbean coast of Colombia. The airport is international with direct flights from Miami, Atlanta, New York, Orlando, Atlanta, Toronto, Montreal, Lima & Mexico City.

Moreover, there are many daily flights from Bogota (Every 30 min), so you could consider a flight with 1 stop in Bogota.

Although the airport is nearby the old city center, you might appreciate a private transfer.

Read our Cartagena travel guide

Rincon del Mar Beach 1 week in Colombia itinerary
Rincon del Mar

How many days in Cartagena

If you decide to fly to the Walled City, it means you want to explore it and find out its best-kept secrets. However, you should know three things about Cartagena:

  • Beaches within the city aren’t pleasant
  • It’s touristy
  • It’s the most expensive place in Colombia (with Providencia)

We wrote an excellent post to help you to decide how long you should stay in Cartagena.

2 Days in Cartagena (+)

If you’re traveling on a shoestring budget during this one week in Colombia, you won’t be able to do many extra activities in Cartagena.

I’m not a fan of the City’s museums – except maybe the Castle San Felipe if it’s the first time you visit one.

Within two days in Cartagena, you should focus on enjoying the romantic atmosphere of the walled city.

First, plan a city tour in the old center. There are some good free walking tours or private tours – if you prefer a more in-depth explanation. You can also book a bus tour if you’re feeling lazy. Don’t forget to contemplate the sunset from the walls.

The next day, wake up early and wander among the colorful alleys in Getsemani and Cartagena. It’s the best moment to take fantastic pictures.

Then, head East or West for your next stop.

For more possibilities, check out our list of 40 things to do in Cartagena.

3 Days in Cartagena (+)

If you don’t have a tight budget, there are 2-3 activities we loved during our 2 weeks in Cartagena:

  • Explore the Bazurto market to get an insight into the “real” Cartagena
  • Coffee tasting
  • Go with fishers in La Boquilla
  • Visit Palenque, the first free town in South America
  • Plan a day trip to the Rosario islands
  • Spend the day doing nothing in a beach club

Also, eat lots of delicious ice cream and book a table at the top-notch restaurants in the city.

For more possibilities, check out our list of 40 things to do in Cartagena.

Where to stay in Cartagena (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Cartagena itinerary

You don’t want to travel too far away from Cartegena as you have to come back the day before your flights – In Colombia, always arrive 1 day before your international flight.

From Cartagena to Rincon and San Bernardo islands (+)

Do you want some beach time for this one week in Colombia?

Then avoid spending a day trip to the Rosario Islands and head to Rincon del mar and/or the San Bernardo islands.

Rincon del Mar is a small beach town with friendly locals, cheap activities, and lovely beaches. It’s 4 hours away by bus.

San Bernardo is an archipelago of 10 paradise islands. The most visited are Isla Tintipan, Mucura, and Palma. There is a 2-hours boat from Cartagena.

From Cartagena to the Rosario islands (+)

Day trips from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands are legions. However, the experience will be better if you spend at least 2 nights on Isla Grande. It’s the best way to avoid the crowds. Public boats leave the dock every morning.

From Cartagena to Tayrona, Paso del Mango or Minca (+)

The Sierra Nevada perfect option for a mix of mountains and beaches for your Colombia itinerary.

Even with a door to door shuttle, you need at least 6 hours to get there. Skip Santa Marta, and don’t try to visit more than one place. It would be silly and superficial.

Tayrona is a National Natural Park with easy hikes through lush vegetation and beautiful beaches. It worths spending 2 or 3 days there.

Minca is a touristy town in the Sierra Nevada. It’s an excellent place for birdwatching, hiking and staying in beautiful hostels.

Paso del Mango is similar to Minca, but nobody knows about it. Don’t hesitate to check this out.

2# One week in Colombia: Medellin

Medellin is in the department of Antioquia. The airport is international, and there are direct flights from New York, Miami, Orlando, Cancun, Mexico city & Madrid.

Moreover, there are many daily flights from Bogota (Every 30 min), so you could consider a flight with 1 stop in Bogota.

The international airport is 45 min away from the city, and there are many taxies at a fixed price.

Read our Medellin travel guide

Jerico, main square with a giant tree. 1 week in Colombia itinerary
Jerico, main square

How many days in Medellin

Many travelers fall in love with Medellin because of the weather and its tremendous nightlife.

However, there are also many hidden gems in Antioquia. You will have to decide if you want to spend more time in the city or in the countryside.

Read our post to decide where to stay in Medellin.

Less than 24 h in Medellin (+)

If you don’t want to visit Medellin and focus on the highlights around, then you don’t have to stay more than 1 night. Pick your accommodation in El Poblado if you want to head South the next day or Laureles if you prefer exploring the East Side. The bus terminals are different according to the final destinations.

2-3 days in Medellin (+)

Main cities are important to understand Colombia’s history and cultural heritage.

There is an excellent and entertaining walking tour offered by Real City Tour. We recommend! Otherwise, you can book a private tour if you’re looking for something more personalized. Try to include the Museo de la Memoria. It’s worth it!

Stopping in Medellin is also the opportunity to learn about social transformation. Visit a notorious district like Comuna 13, Moravia, or La Sierra with a local guide.

Before leaving, delight your palate with a coffee tour or a food tour!

Finally, add some Salsa and a football game at the Stadium, and you will live an excellent cultural experience.

We wrote an exhaustive list of the best things to do in Medellin.

7 days in Medellin (+)

Medellin is an excellent city to experience Colombian life. Stay in a social hostel in Laureles and plan your stay between day trips and social events.

  • My favorite night events are at La Pascasia, Cafe Cliche, 3 Cordilleras, Colombia immersion Exchange language
  • Dance Salsa and take some classes in Son Havana, El Tibiri or Academia Social Club
  • Day trip to Guatape
  • Day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia
  • Paragliding above Medellin
  • Day trip to Santa Elena
  • Expedition rafting on Rio Verde
  • Hiking to the Paramo de Belmira

We wrote an exhaustive list of the best things to do in and around Medellin.

Where to stay in Medellin (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Medellin itinerary

Depending on how long you decide to stay in Medellin, there are 3 loops we love to organize.

From Medellin to San Carlos (+)

This one week Colombia itinerary is for travelers who love aquatic activities. San Rafael and San Carlos are two small towns surrounded by crystal-clear rivers and they’re not touristy at all. Both places are ideal for tubing, canyoning, and chasing waterfalls.

Take a bus to visit Guatape then head to San Rafael (1h) then another to San Carlos (1h).

From Medellin to Jardin (+)

This one week Colombia itinerary is for travelers who want to visit cute colonial towns. Everyone falls in love with Jerico and Jardin. It’s the perfect occasion to visit a coffee farm and hike through the incredible landscapes of Antioquia.

Take a bus to Jerico (3h), then a Chiva – local bus- to Jardin (3h).

From Medellin to the Pacific (+)

All flights to the Pacific coast leave from Medellin. Therefore, don’t hesitate to plan a trip there if you dream of wild beaches and coconuts. It’s also the whale season from July to September.

Book an ecolodge in Guachalito (Nuqui) or a romantic hotel in El Valle (Bahia Solano). Both places are safe.

3# One week in Colombia: Cali

Cali is in the Cauca region, in the “South of Colombia“. The airport is international, with direct flights from Miami, Santiago, Panama City, and Madrid.

Moreover, there are many daily flights from Bogota (Every 30 min), so you could consider a flight with 1 stop in Bogota.

Cheap buses leave from the airport, or you can take a taxi – 40 min.

Read our Cali travel guide

Cali Street Art Caleña

How many days in Cali

If you pick Cali, it means you want – or at least try – to dance Salsa. Take some classes during the day and go practicing at night.

The number of days to explore the surroundings will depend on how much you like dancing Salsa.

3 days in Cali (+)

For us, people-who-are-ashamed-to-dance, it’s complicated to learn how to dance. We don’t have rhythm and sensuality, but it’s not a reason for not trying.

We travel for these new experiences, no? Excellent. Here are my recommendations:

  • Listen to a lot of Salsa before coming
  • In Cali, take at least 5 hours with a private teacher
  • Take group lessons in Salsa Pura in the evening
  • Go out the two nights in a row: Tintindeo, Rincon de Heberth, Malamaña or La Topa Tolondra are great salsa bars.

Between 2 salsa classes, you can book a street food tour, a salsa tour and admire the view from El Cristo Rey.

We wrote a kick-ass list of the best things to do in Cali.

7 days in Cali (+)

“Cali es Cali, lo demas es Loma”. It means “Cali is great, and the rest is s**t.” It’s hot and there is not much to do within the city. And yet, many travelers love it – if you like dancing.

Each evening, around 5 pm, there is a little breeze that indicates “Party is ON”.

Besides, there are many day trips you can organize/book when you don’t want to dance Salsa.

  • Paragliding
  • Canyoning – There are 7 rivers around Cali
  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking to Pico Loro
  • Tubing in San Cipriano

We wrote a kick-ass list of the best things to do in Cali.

Where to stay in Cali (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Cali itinerary

Cali is a city near many exciting Colombian highlights. You will have to choose between Zona Cafetera, Pacific coast, and Andean mountains for this one week in Colombia.

Pance or San Cipriano (+)

Both are easy weekend trips you can organize.

Pance is a small town situated in the Western Andean mountains, at 1.5 hours from Cali. It’s ideal for hiking, birdwatching, and breath some fresh air. I recommend the hostel Casa Batara.

San Cipriano is a town surrounded by lush vegetation. It’s an adventure to get there. It’s 2.5 hours away from Cali. The main activity is tubing on the river.

From Cali to the Zona Cafetera (+)

You need 5 hours to reach Filandia, Buenavista or Salento. All of them are pleasant colonial towns, even if I have a preference for Buenavista.

An interesting 1 week Colombia itinerary would be Cali – Buenavista – Filandia – Cali. By doing so, you can book a fantastic coffee tour and visit the Valle de Cocora.

From Cali to the Pacific Coast (+)

It’s the easiest and cheapest way to reach the Pacific coast. You just have to take a 3-hour bus to Buenaventura then a 1-hour speedboat to Juanchaco. However, don’t stay in Juanchaco. It’s dirty. I recommend sleeping in La Barra or in front of the National Park Bahia Malaga. Don’t miss the Humpback whales!

From Cali to Popayan (+)

Popayan, also known as the “White Colonial City”, is situated 4 hours down South. There are interesting historical sights, and it’s the departure point for a breath-taking 2-day adventure to the Volcano Purace. Moreover, you can attend the indigenous market on Tuesday in Silvia.

4# One week in Colombia: Bogota

Bogota is in the Cundinamarca department. The airport is international with direct flights from Munich, Paris, Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Mexico City, Lima, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Washington, Toronto, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago. Yes, it’s a lot.

Taxis leave from the airport – 30 min. Don’t pay more than 30 000 COP! Taxis are not friendly in Bogota, don’t hesitate to book a private transfer from the airport.

Read our Bogota Travel guide

Paramo de Oceta

How many days in Bogota

Many travelers don’t like Bogota because they’re not well prepared. They have no idea where to stay, what to do and they’ve got only shorts and flip-flops in their bag.

Although the weather isn’t the best in the world, there are tons of things to do if you’re interested in Colombia’s culture and history.

1 night in Bogota (+)

Stay just 1 night if you want to visit Caño Cristales or San Jose del Guaviare. Also, remember that you have to come back to Bogota the day prior to your departure flight.

Stay in Chapinero or the Zona Rosa/Parque 93. Both districts are safe, closer to the airport and it will be easy to find delicious restaurants.

3 days in Bogota (+)

There are many excellent tours we loved in Bogota. You don’t have to book them in advance:

  • War and peace from Beyond Colombia
  • The coffee experiences with Catacíon Publica
  • The bike tour with Bogota Bike tour

Moreover, there are many excellent private tours if you’re looking for something more personalized:

  • Coffee tasting
  • Bogota Food tour
  • Craft beer tour

In addition, there are cool stuff you can do by yourself:

  • Tasting the best restaurants and trendy cafe place
  • Climbing to Monserrate
  • Visiting the National Museum and the MAMU

We wrote an exhaustive list of the best experiences to do in Bogota.

7 days in Bogota (+)

Yes, you can spend 7 days in Bogota without being bored.

In additions to all the activities previously listed, there are cool day trips to organize:

  • Contemplate La Chorrera, the tallest waterfall in Colombia
  • Visit a cacao farm and a coffee farm
  • Hike through the Paramo Sumapaz or Chingaza
  • Outdoor rock climbing in Suesca

Where to stay in Bogota (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Bogota itinerary

From Bogota, you can take a charter in the direction of La Macarena/Guaviare or plan an adventure to the colonial towns nearby.

From Bogota to Guaviare (+)

San Jose del Guaviare is at the limit with the Llanos and has a lot to offer: colorful rivers, natural pools, rock paintings. You must take a 1-h flight to get here.

From Bogota to Caño Cristales (+)

Caño Cristales is a natural park that opens from June to November. The site is famous for the aquatic plant Macarenia Clavigera that gives different shades of red to the river. You must take a 1-h flight to get here.

From Bogota to Tobia (+)

Tobia is a town 3 hours away from Bogota. There are a lot of extreme sports activities like rappelling, rafting, canyoning, zipline. Most of the local agencies are only open on weekends.

From Bogota to Villa de Leyva (+)

Villa de Leyva is my favorite colonial town, at 4 hours from Bogota. There are many activities to do around and delicious restaurants. You can easily spend 3-4 days there.

From Bogota to Mongui (+)

Mongui is another colonial town, situated at 5-6h from Bogota. You must go to Sogamoso first. It’s famous for the Paramo de Oceta.

So, do you know which Colombie cities you would like to add to your Colombia itinerary?

We create Colombia itineraries

We are Adrien and Thomas, two Frenchies who fell in love with Colombia and its inhabitants 5 years ago.

Traveling on his own is the best way to interact with the locals. With Colombia Insiderwe offer you the possibility to travel independently while following an itinerary off the beaten path that suits your desires

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Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

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